Agree. I bought a 1999 TJ here in Michigan that I thought didn’t have much rust and at least had a solid frame to restore. Once I had the whole thing apart I found that the frame was not good and I bought a rust free frame on EBay for $1200.
Make a trip to TX or AZ and buy a Jeep to bring back to IL.
Don't even both looking around Chicago unless the seller specifically mentions that the Jeep is not originally from the rust belt. I look under every TJ I see around town. I've found more unsafe frames than I have clean ones. The probability of getting a rust free Jeep around here is close to none.
Serious question. I've never gone out of state to buy a vehicle. My TJ is in... okay shape.... fine, okay to not great shape frame wise. I know i'll be paying more if/when I go south to purchase one, but if I make the trip how reliable are these sellers that you guys have dealt with?
3 of the pictures are kind of in the wrong area of the frame. Need to look lower, near the control arm mounts and around the skid plate. The pics up high on the frame look gross, but they look solid. But that picture near the rear bumper is looking pretty bad, and makes me concerned about the other areas I mentioned. Gas tank skid is rusted away pretty badly too. And really? Shame on you, Jeep. There are much older framed vehicles on the road holding up better than that.
It's quite obvious what a bad frame look's like, find out what a good one looks like if you don't already know. Surface rust is not the end of the world but when there's metal bubbling and flaking off, the frame is no longer structurally sound.
In other words, read my signature
I live in a suburb of Detroit. I was looking for a TJ with a blown motor to rebuild into a diesel. It was very difficult to find one with a blown motor. Jeeps down south looked good, but I found one about 3 hours away that didn’t look bad (now I know better). The first two images below show pictures of the frame at the control arm brackets when I purchased it for $1900. I thought that I had a good frame to build off of. The later pictures show the frame with everything off. The metal was thin in many places and there were a few holes that weren’t obvious. Frame sections can be purchased to replace the typical problem areas. For me the replacement parts were going to run about $1500. Instead I found a like-new frame from a 2005 TJ on EBay for $1250.